The McPherson Humane Society is drawing attention to cats typically overlooked. Since September, the shelter has marked older, quieter, or frequently returned cats with a golden heart, which signifies their need for a loving home.

"The golden cats are kitties who have been with us for quite a while. We're a no-kill shelter, so cats stay with us until they’re adopted," said Dinah Strange, board member at the shelter.

So far, the program is working. More adopters are coming through the doors of the shelter and choosing golden heart cats.

"We actually had a couple of cats adopted unofficially through the program before we had launched it and now we've had three adopted," Strange said.

Adopting a golden heart cat comes with some requirements and finding the right environment can be difficult. Golden heart cats usually carry certain traits, such as being over nine-years-old, spending more than three years at the shelter, or having personality traits like being shy or needing constant socialization. These types of cats usually do well with single people or families without young children and young pets.

"Often the reason some cats have been with us so long, not always, is that they do not make the first move with visitors. The more social, outgoing cats are the ones who work the crowds and find homes faster. However, during quiet times at the shelter, the shyer cats are more relaxed and open to interaction with people, so a quiet home would likely be one in which they would flourish," Strange said. "Senior cats in general do not play as much, so a home with younger animals or humans is not ideal for them."

Those who have been at the shelter for quite a while can make adoption a tricky transition.

"Usually they’re pretty sociable in the shelter environment; however, once you move them to a new environment in a home, especially if the shelter has been their home for several years, it can be a pretty big adjustment," Strange said.

As a non-profit organization, volunteers play a big part in the socialization of these cats.

"We don't have as much time to work with our residents, and part of that is due to the high population," Strange said.

For those interested in adopting a golden heart cat, the shelter allows visits and has a list of questions ready to make the process easier.

"We ask about their home environments other pets things like that. Some people are able to spend more time working with a cat and some need a cat who requires minimal interaction," Strange said.

For more information, contact the humane society at 620-241-3682 or visit their website at http://mcphersonhumanesociety.com or visit their Facebook page.

Contact Brooke Haas by email at bhaas@mcphersonsentinel.com